Thursday, October 23, 2008

Because System Requirements for WoW Do Not Include Tums

Just before the patch (and the subsequent birth of this blog), there was an outbreak of drama in my guild. Now, as you may or may not know, drama is a contagious illness that affects the weak and strong willed alike. Side effects include: nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, /gquit, /gkick, and a generally unpleasant feeling. Unfortunately, Pepto Bismol does not treat all symptoms of this disease.

As an officer, it is especially heart wrenching to see drama infect your guild, whatever the reason may be. I mean, these are YOUR PEOPLE. They are your friends and playmates. For some of us, we spend more time with them than our actual families. They are shoulders to cry on and people to vent to. Non-gamers never quite get that MMO's are about more than just "playing a stupid video game".

Like the fall being flu season, pre-expansion seems to be drama season. That is to say, guilds are just more susceptible to this disease. Why? Maybe its wanting to see all the content before it becomes obsolete. Maybe its just a general apathy since: "why does it matter when its all gonna change". Maybe its a bit of panic at the thought of having to change what we've grown used to. Maybe its just dumb old coincidence.

Whatever the reason for the season, it may help to know that drama seems to affect everyone equally this time of year. Some deal with it better than others, but the potential is heightened for everyone, and each guild has at least faced a few issues.

As such, I wanted to link a couple of articles that I found insightful/comforting...

First, on WoWInsider, there was a nifty article that describes some of the pre-wrath problems and suggests solutions from the perspective of an officer. I feel rather strongly about a point made in this article about not trying to "steal" other guild's players. It is this warlock's opinion: Alliances FTW. Burning bridges and creating enemies is just not the way to go. It doesn't help in-game and certainly isn't the way we should act in RL.

I suppose I expect a certain maturity amongst MMO'ers, and perhaps that is unfair of me since there are quite a few gamers who are not "of age". However, it has been my experience that often more drama comes from stressed out adults than kids. We have a couple of 13 year old players in our guild, and they have always been respectful and just there to have fun. If only all adults could have that same approach. I think we often find it more difficult to "just let go." With all the pressures that come with being an adult/parent/student/friend/partner, it is definitely a delicate juggling act, and time is always a premium.

After some of our drama got settled, we lost a number of good people and saw our raiding life threatened. One of the best things, IMO, for our guild is that we have always tried to keep an "open door" policy. There are intricacies to such a policy that are open for debate, but the short story is that many of our former guildies are still on good terms with us. Thus, we have a good number of friends in other guilds and this allows us to form some good alliances. As a result, even through the drama, our raiding has continued and we've gotten to see some cool content and taste success. This goes a long way to healing wounds too.

My advice to any other struggling guilds/officers: take care to not burn bridges when you can. I know sometimes people will deserve it, but to quote one of my favorite movies (It's a wonderful Life): "Remember no man is a failure who has friends."

A second article was recently on The Big Bear Butt Blog (or B^4 for the blogging public) and delves into the issue of conflict management within a guild. Mr. Butt explains well the different between a "personal" issue and a "guild" issue. This distinction can be applied to almost any area of life and is somewhat difficult for people to see clearly. For instance, lets talk politics for a second (*Gasp*). It seems a lot of people have some extremely strong feelings about politics and the upcoming election. However, it seems we sometimes fail to distinguish between a "political disagreement" and a "personal issue". Just because someone doesn't agree with you politically does not make them an "idiot" or a subject for you to "hate".

I'm not talking big party figureheads here, but on a more microscopic level. I've see co-workers or friends bicker over different ideologies and cause harm to an otherwise good relationship. Sometimes we just need to agree to disagree, and separate the personal attacks from the disagreements in philosophy. Believe it or not, you CAN be friends with a Pally if you rolled a Warlock (I'm marrying one). If the Horde and Alliance can band together against The Burning Legion, why can't we? Such an approach to conflict management really helps cut down on the surrounding BS and get to the issue at hand.

In the end, everyone usually has the same goal in mind: having fun and improving your gaming experience. Often times this coincides with improving the gaming experience for the guild as a whole. Guilds who can refrain from getting personal and stay adaptable to the ever-changing WoW landscape are going to be successful.

Not to get too sappy, because, as a Warlock... sometimes stuff just needs to DIE. To that effect, I hope to post some good pictures of dead things in the near future from my recent forays into Gruul's Lair and Tempest Keep.

3 comments:

  1. The whole reason I moved back to Horde on another server was because of guild drama. It's always a bummer when something like this happens but I think WOTLK will bring a huge amount of people looking for smaller, tight-knit 10-man raiding guilds.

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  2. I completely agree with you. I'm so excited for our guild that Blizz is giving us the abilty to see everything in 10-mans. It will be perfect in fulfilling everyone's "urges" to see endgame content, while at the same time being smaller and more "tight-knit"

    Best of Both Worlds!

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  3. Yeah, I, for one, am really excited about the 10-man component. It really helps out the casual, close knit guild.

    I think it'll be even more important then to have friends and form Alliances, as I can see raiding 10 man stuff "in-house", but it'll be good also to try the 25-man content via alliances.

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